Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Hard Times For Bobcats In New York State

These are hard times to be a bobcat in New York State. The state’s annual bobcat hunting season just ended, which runs in the Adirondacks and Catskills for nearly four months from October 25 until February 15. Bobcats are an important species in Upstate New York ecosystems because they are predators of rodents, squirrels, snowshoe hare, rabbits, and deer. New York’s bobcat hunting season is one of the longest among states in the Northeast, and there are no limits on how many bobcats an individual hunter/trapper can kill in a season. Bobcat hunting in New York was historically largely focused on the Adirondacks and Catskills and upper Hudson Valley. In 2013, it was expanded into parts of central New York, the Southern Tier, and the lower Hudson Valley, with a shorter 3- to 4-week season.

The expansion of bobcat hunting in 2013 was a central part of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) 2012-2017 Bobcat Management Plan. The Plan coincided with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “New York is Open for Hunting and Fishing” promotional campaign to drive tourism. Bobcats in the state were included with the state’s other game species, like white tail deer, waterfowl, and game birds. The use of wild animals like a bobcat as part of the state’s economic development planning was always a questionable decision by Cuomo and leaders at DEC. The 2012 plan not only extended bobcat hunting to more areas across the state, but it significantly lengthened the hunting season in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

Many northern New York counties paid bounties on bobcats before 1971, when the State Legislature passed a law ending such payments. DEC closed a large portion of the state to bobcat hunting after 1976 and, beginning in 1977, started a pelt tagging system to track the number of bobcats trapped or killed in areas open for bobcat hunting and trapping. Since 1998, New York records report that over 9,400 bobcats have been trapped and reported by licensed trappers. In that time, the annual harvest numbers have ranged from 200 a year from the late 1970s through the early 2000s, when the harvest number jumped to 400 to 500 per year, spiking in 2013 to over 800.

The 2013 spike was the result of the 2012 Bobcat Management Plan, which greatly expanded the areas in New York where bobcats could be hunted and trapped. More important than the opening of bobcat hunting in areas northwest and southeast of the Catskills and throughout the Southern Tier, was the bobcat pelt price. In 2013 fur auctions, bobcats were seeing prices on average of over $250, with top quality pelts going much higher, to $500 and more. These prices clearly had an impact on driving up bobcat trapping numbers. Today, bobcat pelts sell for less than $100.

The 2012 Bobcat plan estimated that the state’s bobcat population was around 5,000, but this estimate was based on interviews with trappers and assumed that since trappers were taking more bobcats the population must be increasing. Absent from DEC’s analysis was the incentive that higher bobcat pelt prices may have created for the increased bobcat take. Protect the Adirondacks criticized the 2012 bobcat plan for being based on pelt-price management.

DEC recently released a new draft Bobcat Management Plan that will run from 2024 to 2033. The major weakness of the new draft Bobcat Plan is that once again DEC has no reliable information on how many bobcats there are in the state. Since it does not know how many bobcats are in the state, DEC is only guessing on whether existing harvest levels are sustainable or whether the bobcat populations are being protected. From 2014 to 2020, the most current data from DEC, between 400 and 500 bobcats were reported each year for the annual hunt tally.

The draft Bobcat Plan is not based on reliable data that are necessary to meet DEC’s statutory obligations of sound management of the wildlife resources. Rather it is based primarily on subjective impressions and the harvest data of hunters and trappers that provide little scientific proof of objective findings. DEC stresses in the plan about its limited ability to conduct meaningful bobcat population surveys. DEC says:

Developing reliable estimates of wildlife population trends is crucial to the proper management of wildlife species, including bobcats. To date, most of DEC’s understanding of bobcat populations is from harvest data. Since harvest can vary annually due to a variety of factors unrelated to animal abundance (e.g., hunter effort, weather, fur prices), harvest-independent data is a more accurate reflection of wildlife populations. In addition, harvest-independent data provides information in areas without harvest seasons.

“Harvest independent” data is data collected in the field using established scientific methods, that can be widely replicated, to conduct a bobcat population census. DEC has not undertaken such a scientific inquiry.

While DEC acknowledges the limitations of its methodology for estimating the state’s bobcat population, it nevertheless hazards a crude guess that the bobcat population is stable or even increasing because hunters and trappers kill about 400 bobcats a year across the state. DEC data also attempts to explain away the 2013 “spike” of 800 killed in one year as based on an increase in the price of furs, but if successfully hunting 400 bobcats in a year shows stability, a spike to 800 would seem to undermine that conclusion. If 800 can be killed, instead of 400, exactly what is the population? DEC data also shows that in areas where hunting/trapping is allowed, “harvest success rates” have declined, “bobcat observations” have declined, and overall bobcat harvests have declined. These trends do not show “stability.”

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which conducts a broad range of scientific analysis and surveys in the states, and has long partnered with DEC, wrote about the DEC bobcat plan:

“When the expanded seasons opened in 2013, high fur prices coupled with the novelty of a new season led to New York’s largest bobcat harvest in over 20 years. Since that first season, the harvest in the Harvest Expansion Area has declined. While this is likely primarily driven by decreases in pelt prices, the bobcat harvest in western wildlife management units (WMUs) remains lower than expected. These low harvest numbers make it difficult to estimate population trends using harvest data and raise concerns that the harvest may be negatively impacting the bobcat population in these areas.”

DEC helped to fund an 8-year study about wildlife populations across the Southern Tier of New York using camera traps that recorded the number of various species photographed. The study looked at populations of coyotes, red foxes, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, wild turkeys, and bobcats. This was an ambitious project, and one that should be widely expanded across New York and the Adirondack Park. This trail camera study was based on 62,895 sampling days at 2,995 sites across 27,000 square miles in central and western New York.

Using thousands of camera traps, the study recorded a total of 4,465 “independent detections” of deer, 1,026 detections of coyote, 1,678 of red fox, 281 of gray fox, 197 of eastern wild turkeys, and 116 detections of bobcat. This research, published in the February issue of Biological Conservation, states that New York’s “bobcat populations remain critically low.” Though DEC helped to finance this study, and now proposes a new 10-year plan, the Department ignores its conclusion and fails to cite this study in the new Bobcat Plan. A study excerpt states: “Despite recent recoveries elsewhere, bobcat populations in New York State displayed very low occupancy highlighting the necessity of monitoring to inform conservation action.” The upshot of this research is that a major recent scientific wildlife population study in New York State raised concerns about a low bobcat population in one part of the state that allows bobcat hunting.

Pennsylvania has a tightly regulated 23-day bobcat hunting season that limits one bobcat per license holder. Vermont’s hunting season is less than one month and its trapping season is just 16 days. New Hampshire and Connecticut closed their bobcat seasons years ago, and Ohio is studying its bobcat population and may propose a limited hunting season in the future. Maine and Massachusetts are similar in scope to New York – long seasons with no bag limits.

New York’s 2012 plan extended bobcat hunting into mid-February each year, deep into the heart of the winter. Winter stresses wildlife populations in New York and there was no scientific reason for lengthening the season. Winter stresses are compounded by hunting. The new DEC plan cites the extended season deep into February as an accomplishment, but this conclusion is based on a survey of “4,500 trappers and furbearer hunters to evaluate season date preferences for bobcats and other furbearers.” Surveying bobcat hunters and trappers about their desire for a longer hunting season is hardly a protocol for sound management by a regulatory and wildlife management agency.

The DEC has a history of not playing it straight with its wildlife management. We all remember the cover-up that surrounded the saga of the wolf killed in Otsego County in 2021. There the DEC conducted a DNA test on the animal in early 2022 that showed it had a majority wolf DNA but publicly called it a coyote and then refused to release its DNA test for more than a year. Two independent DNA tests showed the animal was over 90% wolf. The bobcat plan continues a pattern of not playing it straight.

DEC made a choice with the new bobcat plan to go with the observations of hunters and trappers to form its population estimate. As mentioned above, the new plan hedges, is almost apologetic about its limited data, but nevertheless blazes ahead with a recommendation to uphold the status quo for the next 10 years.

DEC needs to take the time and undertake the expense to conduct a proper scientific study on the state’s bobcat population and then make a new plan based on reliable population data. The one study we have in one part of the state where bobcat hunting is allowed found low numbers of bobcats. This should cause DEC to change course and figure out the best way to undertake a statewide bobcat census. DEC certainly should not forge ahead with a new 10-year plan that allows unlimited killing of bobcats during extremely long hunting and trapping seasons. The current draft Bobcat Plan is not supported by sufficient scientific data and should not be finalized.

Photo at top courtesy of NYS DEC.

Related Stories


Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks. He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He was the co-founder of the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) in 1998, which has collected long-term water quality data on more than 75 Adirondack lakes and ponds. He has testified before the State Legislature, successfully advocated to pass legislation and budget items, authored numerous articles, op-eds, and reports such as "20% in 2023: An Assessment of the New York State 30 by 30 Act" (2023), "The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010" (2019), "The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park" (2013), and "Rutted and Ruined: ATV Damage on the Adirondack Forest Preserve" (2003) and "Growth in the Adirondack Park: Analysis of Rates and Patterns of Development" (2001). He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife, has two grown children out in the world, and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Threads.




98 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    Here goes Peter again trying to having new hunting seasons and bag limits changed. I own property in the finger lakes & CNY that I hunt regularly. I am in the woods just about everyday of the year. Hunt just about everyday from 10/1 until season close end of February. I saw a total of 15 bobcats this hunting season. Have numerous pictures on trail cams. Not sure what the population is in the state but I know the state doesn’t need people outside of the DEC wanting to institute new hunting regulations

    • Boreas says:

      Rob,

      Bauer: “DEC needs to take the time and undertake the expense to conduct a proper scientific study on the state’s bobcat population and then make a new plan based on reliable population data.”

      How is this “trying to having new hunting seasons and bag limits changed.”?? He states to do the proper studies, THEN make recommend a plan. For instance, you had 15 bobcat sightings/pictures – were they all different cats? Seasons and bag limits need to be determined by population studies, not guesses and anecdotal data. That is responsible management.

      • Rob says:

        I have never taken a bobcat. Never plan to. Those 15 sightings were from sitting in a treestand not what was taken from a camera. So adding them up if different animals not sure how to tell. Don’t know the population of them in areas I hunt. Don’t know anyone taken any during season or trapping them anymore. I have not hunted any of our properties in the adks in years so not sure of sightings there but I have seen them when in the woods up there walking around. But I see where Pete’s intentions are based on the coyote that turned out to be a wolf. Not hard to read between the lines with him.

  2. MITCH EDELSTEIN says:

    I would be interested in the population of Bobcat hunters and trappers. It is my impression that their numbers are decreasing as they age out or die. Clearly the demand for fur clothing has declined. What does the the hunting and trapping license data show?

  3. Paul says:

    Mitch poses a good question. This article clearly lacks any information on the impact of bobcat hunting and trapping on the population. Is this a solution looking for a problem? I was a member of a large adirondack hunting club for about 40 years (40 members and 4000 acres). In all that time we had one recorded bobcat shot or trapped on the club. And we kept meticulous records. I am just not sure that there is much of an impact from hunting. Maybe, but show some facts to prove your point. The fact they got almost as many gray fox pictures as bobcat could show there isn’t a problem. Gray fox populations are doing very well, and still expanding in NYS. These predators are pretty elusive creatures – part of how cool they are!

    If this is what you have please include a link to the data. Peter, that would be nice to share.
    “The one study we have in one part of the state where bobcat hunting is allowed found low numbers of bobcats.” I assume this is at least a study that looked at an area where bobcat numbers used to be high? What’s the reference here.”

    I would never shoot or trap a bobcat ever. I have seen a few it is a treat. This is just a long story short on facts, that really indicate a problem. If there has not been sufficient studies you can’t make any conclusions, yet the assumption here is that the numbers are low w/o anything. If you want to sya there isn’t data because there isn’t a study – just say that.

    • Boreas says:

      Paul,

      “If there has not been sufficient studies you can’t make any conclusions, yet the assumption here is that the numbers are low w/o anything. If you want to sya there isn’t data because there isn’t a study – just say that.”

      The way I read the article, that is exactly what Bauer is saying. We don’t have reliable numbers. Hence the comparisons with other states’ programs and examples of recent changes without proper population studies. IMO, DEC needs to become a little more concerned with conservation and science and less concerned with ever-changing political winds.

      • Paul says:

        I agree that he is saying that we don’t have adequate data, but the article then goes on w/o any data to suggest that we have some sort of problem.

        “These prices clearly had an impact on driving up bobcat trapping numbers. ” Based on what? Again show us these numbers, or doesn’t he have them?

        If I had to guess, like he is doing here, I would bet that the impact on Bobcat populations (especially from hunting) is very low. There is no reason to shoot a bobcat. If you did the pelt would be worthless.

        • Ethan says:

          Paul, I’ll add my “guess” to yours.
          I agree, there’s no reason to shoot a bobcat and yes, the pelt would have diminished value, but how many bobcats are trapped versus “shot”?
          Since there’s no mandated feedback, how would we even know? So, I’ll guess most were trapped.

          • Paul says:

            Do you need mandated feedback for trapping? Can’t Peter just go and see how many pelts were bought, there can’t be that many places you can even do that anymore. This isn’t the 1800’s where we had a fur buyer on every main street!

            The long term facts are that there is much less taking of fur bearing wildlife now than in the past. We are probably debating about a handful of animals. I don’t think it is worth all the costs for studies etc.

            But if Protect wants to pay for such studies, go for it. Instead of Protect paying Peter to write stories like this maybe they should have him do a study instead?

      • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

        We need volunteers to paint numbers on each side of them so we know the population. Just walk up slowly and talk calmly. Then pet them till they calm down and paint away…..Wear safety glasses. 😉

  4. Habitatman says:

    Thank you Mr. Bauer for your cogent analysis of the Bobcat # situation in NYS. My family has slowly added to the acreage I grew up on in Eastern Oswego Co. and now have nearly 1100 acres most of which is under conservation easement. (sorry but I do like to brag about the easement a bit). For the last 8-9 years, I’ve had at least 1 or 2 trail cams up on our territory. During that time we’ve had hundreds of deer and other critters captured on the cams and about 5 years ago it was exciting to get a night shot of a Bobcat!!
    Be aware that this is excellent wildlife habitat. —-yet we’ve only had ONE! Bobcat during that entire period pop up on the cam. So I don’t see why there should be any slaughter season for them at all. Before anyone starts screaming at me do be aware that we do let a few select family members and neighbors deer hunt only on our property as there certainly is no dearth of deer. (says this vegetarian).
    Perhaps when a new DEC commissioner is appointed they can be persuaded to look at the data (as presented by Mr. Bauer) and deal with the situation accordingly.

    • Rob says:

      A “slaughter season”. Someone who has no idea about hunting seasons. Just remember, if God didn’t want us to eat animals he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.

      • Tim says:

        People eat bobcats?

      • ADKresident2 says:

        Rob was being a smartass. People don’t eat bobcats.

        • Jane says:

          People don’t eat bobcats…and they don’t need to trap or shoot them, either. What part of that is “sport?” Go out and get some exercise, play football, soccer, paint ball, or hey, why don’t you just Take a hike.

          • JohnL says:

            You’re being very self-centered Jane. We don’t tell you how to spend your leisure time. Why do you feel qualified to tell us how to spend ours. It’s legal and lots of people like to do it. That should tell you all you need to know.
            P.S. People don’t eat footballs either, and you don’t need to kick and throw them around and generally abuse them either, but people do. Why? Because it’s legal and THEY like to do it.

    • Paul says:

      Peter has no data here. He even says in the article there is no good data.

    • Mike says:

      “(sorry but I do like to brag about the easement a bit)”

      Glad to hear that you can brag about your privilege.

  5. Alan West says:

    I have to agree that DEC has a history of not playing it straight with it’s wildlife management, the Otter and fisher plans are prime examples.
    Actually this Bobcat plan is a rerun of a previous plan started I believe in 2012. Why is a rerun needed and why do these plans take over 20 years to complete?
    One of the methods being used by DEC is a college theory called “TPUE”, (traps Per Unit of Effort). which has so many variables as to make the data collected inaccurate.
    An attitude exists that we (DEC) know more than the trappers and hunters. If that is true why iare the plans taking over 20 years?

  6. william c hill says:

    I knew this was a Bauer article just from the headline… pretty predictable.

  7. S Rod says:

    Wow according to your camera trap theory the deer population as so low I think we should look into putting a stop to deer hunting. (SMH)

  8. Thomas A Foster Jr says:

    Part of the problem lies with the fact that there’s no diversity in state owned tracts in the Adirondacks. No regrowth equals no food. The snowshoe hare is the main diet of these felines. Rabbits need food and cover, both are in short supply as very little sunlight reaches the forest floor.

    • William says:

      You nailed it. We manage animal populations just not the forests.

    • Boreas says:

      Thomas,

      You are mistaking a Bobcat for a Lynx. Bobcat populations go WELL beyond hare ranges. Bobcat have a varied diet which is why they lave a large range across North America and the Lynx is restricted mostly to hare populations.

      • COL (R) Mark Warnecke says:

        Boreas,
        I believe both you and Thomas are correct. The Lynx/Snowshoe hare’s predator/prey relationship and population fluctuations are one the classic studies in wildlife biology, and the Lynx throughout most of its North American range is reliant on snowshoe hare. Bobcats are more cosmopolitan in their prey selection, and it varies widely across their range. In the Adirondacks snowshoe hare make up a significant part of the bobcat’s diet simply because there are more of them than anywhere else in NY.

        Interestingly the bobcat population in the Catskills is much higher and home ranges significantly smaller than the Adirondacks. Probably a function of bobcats being a more southern species than Lynx. Simply put, the Adirondacks is approaching the fringe of preferred bobcat habitat from a biogeographical standpoint.

        But I am always more interested the biological facts than the opinions of self-proclaimed experts.

        • Balian the Cat says:

          One of the most interesting things I have ever witnessed in local woods occurred one day after I sought refuge from the heat under a spruce thicket bordering a wetland. As I sat quietly, a bobcat came out of the woods on the far side of the open area and methodically worked along the length of a beaver dam. Sniffing, pawing, pausing, pouncing as it went. I cannot say with authority, but I have always believed it was hunting for frogs. Cosmopolitan indeed, if my hypothesis is correct.

        • Paul says:

          If varying hares are the main source of food for the Lynx why did DEC release some into the high peaks where hares are few and far between? That was a boondoggle, and probably why it failed. I am sure that groups like Protect thought it was a great idea and investment.

    • Todd Eastman says:

      Forest diversity is ongoing as blowdowns, insects, and the occasional fire shape the forests. That is how forest diversity occurs. Logging unless regulated to the point of not being economically feasible is a poor substitute for how nature gets the job done.

      Of course if you want scads of deer and edge species for hunting snd trapping, by all means cut trees like the forest product industry has since the mid-1800s…

  9. David says:

    This is an excellent and thorough analysis by Peter Bauer. And I suppose by some of the comments that is beyond their ability to understand. What the DEC has done with Bobcat management is worse than ‘junk science’. It is a disgrace that we have this kind of ‘conservation’ agency managing our lands and wildlife with such lame and unscientific justifications. Fess up, DEC, and do better. We demand it!

  10. Raymond Budnick says:

    As an avid outdoors person for most of my 67 years, I too am perplexed by the decision to extend the Bobcat season, as well as allowing an open bag limit!
    I hike, camp, hunt and fish as well as own 50 wooded acres adjoining an 11,000 acre parcel of New York State game lands.
    I have never so much as heard, let alone seen a bobcat any where’s throughout all my time and travels in New York!
    By mere logic, nature self-controls native species populations. Some trapping for the sake of keeping hold of skills and crafts soon to be lost forever is a good thing.
    But to infer through policy, that Bobcats are going to be a menace if not kept in check is ridiculous! These animals rank up there with sasquatch in their mysterious whereabouts and their effect to the natural balance or us. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard or seen one. And I offer anyone to produce evidence of property damage from these shy and elusive creatures.
    The only harm I could see these lesser of our great cats incurring might be on free range chickens or inappropriately free roaming house cats. And free-range chickens are open and fair game to all carnivores be it winged or legged! And the winged ones are all protected by law, as they should be. So, the majority predation will still continue.
    So, New York. Why are we not respecting and leaving alone for the most part these wonderfully mysterious shadows of our great outdoors.

    • Boreas says:

      Raymond,

      I believe DEC still has a hundred-year old view of predators of all sorts. They don’t seem to see predators as being integral to healthy game populations. It wasn’t that long ago they stopped bounties! Predators continue to be persecuted in NYS and over much of North America. I WISH I had more Bobcats in my area!!Hopefully they would have an impact on the feral cat and deer overpopulations in my vicinity.

    • geogymn says:

      Excellent post !

  11. Craig says:

    This is what happens when government leaders are more interested in $$$ than environment and eco systems. Unless a governor has a degree in wildlife biology and conservation, they shouldn’t be dictating conservation laws over people with real degrees and years of experience in wildlife management.

  12. Paul Harvey Antes says:

    i am deeply ashamed that New York State adheres to a poorly conceived and unscientific bobcat management scheme. it is long past the time for unlimited hunting for “sport?” to be acceptable.

    • Rob says:

      Says the guy who is probably not a hunter. Probably feel all hu ting should be done away with.

    • Ethan says:

      It certainly is past time.
      Too many species in NY enduring the pressure of excessive seasons and without bag limits which only serves to encourage overhunting along with a message that those species have little to no value.
      Just what we don’t need or want.

      • Rob says:

        They may have long seasons but the actual hunting pressure they get is very minimal. It’s not like there are hunters behind every tree hunting from sunrise to sunset. But a bag limit on them. I’d have no issues with that but these articles get the “let’s do away with hunting” crowd’s involved. Hunting should not be dictated or done away with because people don’t agree with hunting. You don’t like it fine, but don’t criticize or want to take something away from others because it isn’t someone’s cup of tea.

  13. Vanessa B says:

    It seems silly to repeat the following, but why not: given how rapidly the ADK will warm over the next 20ish years, we need anything in the woods we can get that will eat rodents, to control Lyme and worse. Unless there is a vaccine for Lyme soon, but we know how some of us feel re vaccines…

  14. David Watterson says:

    Very helpful and informative article on the Bobcat hunting current plan by the DEC. As a property owner in the Central Adirondacks on the Fulton Chain of Lakes, is there anything that I can do about encouraging a proper study of the current population. Then, we can have have confidence that the plan is sustainable and not just wishful guessing on the part of the hunters and those that want to promote economic activity at the expense of the natural resources.

  15. Gary West says:

    The authors objections are not any more scientific than the information being used by the DNR. They are certainly more based on emotion and conjecture! What he fails to mention is the dramatic increase in bobcats all over the Eastern US. Many states that have not have viable populations of bobcats for 150 years now have them and are initiating management plans. Ohio and Indiana are two of those states. The sky is falling philosophies have no place in wildlife management!

  16. William says:

    I wonder if you can use catnip to hunt them?

  17. Alan says:

    DEC stocked Lynx in the Adirondacks years ago. They left for parts unknown. No food? Just no diversity of habitat in forever wild forests. Just habitat for tree huggers.

    • Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

      Forest and animals did fine without humans a few hundred years ago…I think your “need to meddle with, tweak and adjust” belief is just nonsense that conveniently fits in with what you want to do. How about we pick up another hobby and allow outdoorsman that don’t kill animals for a hobby have the trill of seeing and experiencing more wildlife?

  18. Alan Dickinson says:

    Lynx were introduced into the high peaks years ago. Was a failed attempt. No food? Certainly no diversity of forrest age class. Just no habitat for wildlife.

    • Rob says:

      Yes the Adirondacks could use some serious management in the aspect of tree removal to help growth of the forest. To do nothing but leave as it is will only hurt the forest over the years. Guess all the leave the forest untouched folks will be happy about that.

      • Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

        I’ll be happy with that because I’m convinced it’s unnecessary and just pseudo science animal killers want to believe and try to get others to believe.

        • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

          Deer hunting used to provide expensive meat when you factored in all the costs to get it but, with steak’s selling for $30 bucks a pound give or take its looking a lot better every day.

  19. Alan West says:

    DEC did not stock those lynx in the Adirondacks, but rather a college professor and his grad student.He was so smart that he put them in the high peaks where there was no food, consequently they took off for parts unknown.That is a good thing. The state of Maine has had to alter trapping methods to avoid catching federally protected lynx.
    This Matter of the bobcats is multi faces and Mr Bauer does not his facts together.
    In the Adirondacks the Forest Preserve restrictions prevent controlled logging and consequently we have an over mature Forest that is detrimental for wildlife.
    Add to that a DEC that is so controlled by politics and some very poor decisions.
    Instead of redoing bobcat management plan they should be looking at studies that matter, example thedrastic=c decline of muskrats or ruffed grouse.

  20. Larry Orvis says:

    The quality and quantity of the wildlife depends on forest disturbance, whether man made or natural like windthro over large areas like the 1950 hurricane. Wilderness areas will take 300 to 500 years to develope in to more forest openings, younger forest for food and cover and this will last about 40 years, then the process will start over.
    Their are some great studies and publications by Gordon W. Gullion, Richard M. DeGraaf and Mariko Yamasaki that describes the habitat needs of the many species in the Northern Forest. Just Google their names and start reading.
    It seems like the author of this article just wants to use wildlife as a tool to stop any vegetative manage in the Adirondack Park to strengthen the Forever Wild Law of the land.

  21. SRod says:

    You want these animals to come back manage the forest not the animals. Indians used to burn large sections of the forest so the undergrowth would feed the animals. State land which hasn’t been touched for 100 years has zero undergrowth to sustain wildlife. Forestry and cutting is not the worst idea

  22. Bill Keller says:

    Today, bobcats can be found throughout the state, except for Long Island. They are well-established in the Southern Tier, and populations are continuing to grow in the Lake Plains area. Although their elusive nature makes them difficult to spot, DEC has documented bobcats in every upstate NY county. Jan 17, 2024.Thanks to state restoration efforts in the 70s and 80s. Seems like the DEC’s poor plan is working, unlimited bag limits and all. Bauer’s opinions and his single minded agenda. In my opinion the NYSDEC does a tremendous job in wildlife management with many successes in fish restocking, pond management, turkeys, deer. All the species that are fished for and hunted/trapped. Paid for by the sportsmen and women who purchase licenses and pay excise tax to fund their sport and support wildlife management plans. All the tree huggers do is complain that it’s not done to their liking.

    • Boreas says:

      Bill,

      “Paid for by the sportsmen and women who purchase licenses and pay excise tax to fund their sport and support wildlife management plans. All the tree huggers do is complain that it’s not done to their liking.”

      The truth is, wildlife management is only partially supported by licenses/fees. Taxpayers (including “tree huggers”) are on the hook for DEC funding because DEC is responsible for environmental conservation – not simply wildlife management. This goes back to the old “put and take” ideas of game management, and has nothing to do with Environmental Conservation (Department of Environmental Conservation – it’s right in their name!).

      What is “put and take”? Wildlife are considered to be assets enjoyed by all NYS citizens, so if one is going to “take/harvest” them, there needs to be a way to reimburse the citizens. This is the overriding “logic” of game laws and license fees. The system sort of works for game/fish species under the purview of DEC, but is far from true Environmental Conservation which should be considering entire ecosystems. Consider the seeming inability to deal with deer overpopulation that is decimating forest systems. In fact, game management and environmental conservation are often at odds in most states. Somehow NYSDEC has to navigate these often conflicting goals – but in essence, it becomes political with too much power in one politically appointed seat -the Commissioner. Keeping DEC’s feet to the fire for their environmental responsibilities will always be an ongoing effort by “tree huggers”, as is their right and responsibility.

      But perhaps a Game Commission should be instituted as in PA and other states, but as a SEPARATE entity from DEC. That way DEC could focus on overall environmental research and policy and the Game Commission would have to work within those over-arching guidelines. Might be worth consideration. Perhaps rolling game management into DEC was not a wise move for the overall environment of NYS.

      • Bill Keller says:

        Hunters are tax payers too. I agree that we all pay NYS taxes and some of that goes to the DEC. Through state licenses and fees in the US, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs. Through donations to groups like RMEF, hunters graciously add $440 million a year to conservation efforts. In 1937, hunters actually requested an 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows to help fund conservation. I don’t see the “tree hugger” doing that.

        • Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

          When I get a significant enough New York tax refund I ALWAYS “give a gift to wildlife” and I consider myself a tree hugger and I think trapping is moronic.

          • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

            Yes I agree, I hate seeing animals caught suffering in a trap, and I did it myself when I was young and stupid. It is moronic now, because of oil. (stay with me please) Our homes are warm and so are our made from oil clothes and tents etc etc. But to say you cant hunt when that is what brought mankind thru the millennia and kept us warm and fed thru ice ages and brutal winters and got us here today to have our modern society is also moronic. And just because you don’t go out and kill animals yourself, you still do whether you pay the butcher or even your roads and schools and workplaces have all caused animals to be displaced and die a cruel death from lack of habitat and starvation. Which is worse? A bullet is the quickest and most humane way unfortunately….

  23. Balian the Cat says:

    I feel like a stuck record saying this but the anthrocentric view that natural processes need to be “managed” is preposterous. The most diveresly populated parts of the planet – think unaffected coral reefs, tropical forests, etc – are the ones left to their own development. While it is certainly accurate to say that forests can be managed to produce optimal conditions for humans (timber production, specific games species, etc) it’s just silly to imply that without people the woods can’t take care of themselves.

    • Paul says:

      Humans are “part” of the ecosystem.

      • Balian the Cat says:

        100%! Part of, not universal masters of. Life thrived on this planet before there were humans and it probably will again after we’re gone. We depend on it, not the other way around.

    • William says:

      You are correct that forests were not managed pre-humans. But we do manage them now. Every time we put a forest fire out that is a form of management. If you really want to go au naturel, them let them burn. It is a natural part of forest rejuvenation that we have taken out of the equation. Or you could simply log them….

      • Balian the Cat says:

        William – I am certainly not blind to the realities of the situation. Letting them burn, as you say, would be my preference as fire is part of the natural processes, but that sometimes endangers people/communities who have inserted themselves into fire dependant forests – not unlike when we build in flood plains, on top of fault lines, etc. Once we began to “manage” (indigenous peoples certainly used fire to alter their environs to their advantage) there’s a cascadining affect that we have to either maintain or adapt to (modern Americans aren’t all that great at accepting inconveneinece.) Logging is one of the tools to that end. I’m not suggesting we cease all activity, but I am saying 1) to suggest that forests “need” us to mamange them is ridiculous and 2) “managing” forests to produce conditions optimal to humans is a choice, not a necessity.

        • William says:

          What I am trying to convey is the old growth timber on public land in the park receives a hands off management approach with the exception of putting out fires. This creates habitat that It is far from optimal for many species including the bobcat and snowshoe hare. Groups such as Protect the Adirondacks are actually contributing to the problem. No logging and put out the fires is still a form of management. One only need look at the area just north of the old Rockefeller Estate, (Now Jack Ma’s) on the Blue Mt. Road near Paul Smiths. In the late 1800’s or early 1900’s that whole area burned, you can still see the stumps. I think it was called Meno? Regardless, having grown up in that area in the 70’s the new pine growth in there was thick and amazing. It was also infested with snowshoe hares, I am sure the bobcats knew that too. Just an example though. Paul Smith College trains foresters for a reason….we just choose not to use them on public land to the detriment of many species.

          • Balian the Cat says:

            William I am not, fundamentally, arguing with you but I do suggest that you are taking a perspective. Ethically, it is not up to us which species inhabit which areas of which forests. That ship has, of course, sailed but bobcats, wolves, dragonflies, slugs, all know intrinsically what their niche is. They don’t need us to explain or provide that for them. That we manage for certain conditions and species is a human construct. Old growth attracts it’s own set of inhabitants and we should rejoice in all life, not just the ones we want to hunt, trap, photograph or view. Can you imagine if someone suggested that we should cease inhabiting certain areas of the ADK’s so that new growth could occur and lead to various successions that suited a management plan? Sounds crazy but only when viewed through the anthropocentric lense – the trout, warblers and beavers would applaud.

            • Larry G.Orvis says:

              Every comment here is a perspective and I take exception that an old growth forest is better for warblers and the beaver as both thrive in an early successional forest especially where you find lAspen and young conifers. Aspen need to be cut every 40 years for regeneration.
              As far as the wild brook trout is concerned, I observed that the best fishing with guanity and guality were in watersheds with wide protected buffers along mountain streams with extensive clearcutting in the watersheds. This was done from 1968 to 1982 in the Green Mountain National Forest and lasted till around 1995. Their were many more insects during this time and today with less cutting the insect population has become a lot less.

      • Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

        Wet, lush forests don’t burn. I really don’t think the Adirondacks regularly burned. I’d be willing to bet it’s a rarity and unnecessary.

    • Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

      THIS. Nature completely left alone doesn’t need the input or guidance of the fat ass or the selfish or the know it all.

    • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

      Yes, without man, fire and tsunamis and hurricanes destroyed climax forests and made open areas much better for more wildlife.

  24. Berta says:

    What is the point of killing these poor cats… they are not hunted for food… What is wrong with humanity, that people kill just for sport? And NY should do better than this. How disgusting.

    And why are people here getting hung up on who wrote this article…. what is so wrong about someone who advocates for wildlife, and is it so strange to believe that a wildlife advocate would then advocate for animals in an article??… Instead, how about focusing on the subject, a beautiful wildcat who gets killed for no reason, further disrupting the ecosystem.

    • Larry Orvis says:

      I for one want laws to protect them, I don’t think anyone who has commented want to have them killed either. The areas I traversed when I was a young adult had many prey species and in turn many more of these majestic cats, but the vegetation today of a maturing forest no longer supports the prey of the bobcat. The bobcat today is found in more suburban areas and is more susceptible to being killed by vehicles.

      My point is that the quality and quantity of the vegetation along with natural disturbances like wind and fire determine the quality and quantity of the majority of the species. If you have very few disturbances in a mature forest, you will have fewer food and cover resources for all the wildlife, especially song birds. This applies to this region of the Northern Forest.

    • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

      I was a big hunter in the past and never had the urge to kill a bobcat or bear, Fischer etc. Here comes the “But” These animals kill other animals every day. They don’t eat wild carrots or fruit. Its what they do and meat and fat are the best way to survive a winter. It gives lots of energy over vegetable matter. So if some hunter wants to take one, it is legal and probably even moral in a way. I’m sure the Indians and cave men did.
      I was just reading about a 21 yr old boy in California was killed by a mountain lion yesterday. Very sad but these are not defenseless animals.

  25. Getting back to the bobcat hunting issue, it seems that we have two sides arguing that the other side has no data to support their views and offering little more that anecdotes and unsupported opinions.

    So why not conduct some valid scientific studies and go from there based on the results.

  26. Jennifer Goheen says:

    The best way to manage a predator species is not to hunt it. Predator populations are controlled by the availability of prey.

  27. Eilene Kellogg says:

    To the wildlife game department. Why don’t you all get it over with and tell the hunters they can hunt all species untill there is no more left. We’re headed towards that anyways. Lions,lepords,jaguars, snow leapers, elephants, fishing cats, cougars, some reptiles, certain apes, moneys on that same list. Man has already destroyed so much in the name of riches, and ego. Thr only way it will stop is when Jehovah God takes over. Jehovah God tells th we one ruining the earth will also be ruined.0

    • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

      Were not headed that way, but they are. There are far more animals around than when I was a kid. I remember looking out the school bus window and it took years before I even saw a deer. Let alone anything else.

      • Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

        And I see less animals than when I was a kid. I have no idea where you live and see more. You probably moved to a less developed area and want to withhold that fact.

  28. Barbara Giardina says:

    Shame, shame, shame on the DEC for letting the people who profit by killing, trapping, and skinning as many cats and kittens as possible to provide valid population numbers. Who in the world thinks those numbers are accurate. Extending the current ‘kill as many as possible for as long as possible’ policy for 10 more years is absolutely despicable. Put a moratorium on this decision and do a proper study. The DEC should NOT be relying on anything accurate coming from hunters and trappers, but should be doing their own due diligence to learn the correct numbers of these wonderful little cats.

  29. Larry G.Orvis says:

    I doubt if the DEC has the resources or personnel to do a real study to reveal the numbers. This would require many hours and traversing thousands of acres in the field over many years, as the vegetation changes, so will the study. The best food and cover for bobcats are probably found on private lands and in small disturded pockets of forest in the Adirondack Preserve.

    Not being a trapper, I have found out over the years that trappers are some of most knowledgeable people in the forest in knowing many plants, tracks and wildlife corridors. They probably know the numbers in the area’s they are covering as they spend many hours in the field.

  30. Pam Bellair says:

    This slaughter of Bobcats makes me sick!!!! DEC KNOWS the. Bobcat population is crashing, yet they expand the season with no limit on how many Bobcats are killed!! This beautiful and environmentally necessary animal is being decimated because humans get only $100 per death !!! DEC – PUT A SHORTER SEASON WITH FEWER LIMITS ON HOW MANY CAN BE TAKEN !!!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?????

    • Kevin E Whitcombe says:

      People build in the woods and when little Fido or kitty or their chickens get munched they call the Dec and complain and Bobs your uncle…..

    • JohnL says:

      OMG PAM. TRY TO RELAX AND SPEAK IN A calm manner. Here’s an article that seems to indicate that bobcats are expanding their ranges in New York. That’s good news….right? Or, is the only good news for you the elimination of all hunting and trapping? It drives some people crazy (probably not you, you’re too astute for that) to know that hunters and trappers not only love animals, but provide a valuable service (and also a LOT of money) in the management and maintainance of wild animal populations. Hope this helps. Also, if it helps you at all, I’m a hunter but I don’t know ANY hunters that hunt bobcats. It’s a miniscule percentage of the hunter population.
      https://a-z-animals.com/blog/bobcats-in-new-york-state-how-many-are-there-and-where-do-they-roam/

      • Alan says:

        Great to see everyone’s concern about our Bobcats and other wildlife in New York. Unfortunately the article and its headline was misleading and poorly written. Ironic that the author was accusing the DEC about not having all the facts when he himself was guilty. Hopefully these types of articles are not allowed in the future.

  31. Bob Barstow says:

    Peter Bauer and Kathy hochol need to keep their left wing noses out of wildlife management. Hunters , trappers and the DEC are the reason we have abundant wildlife in NYS not PETA and other anti groups that know nothing about wildlife!

  32. Kevin E Whitcombe says:

    Its an election year so they all pretend to move to the center. Then after the election they fly off the left side of the highway…..again

  33. Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

    As someone that lives in New York and loves the great outdoors I think we are well past time we stop allowing the killing of animals for fun or pastime or income. I WANT TO SEE wildlife when I go hiking and camping. I’m sick of New York wilderness seemingly void of wildlife. At a minimum let’s start being CONSERVATIVE. We are “conservative” with everything else nowadays…well, more like “reactionary” but…
    Can we start doing 21st century things in a civilized kind of way?
    We shouldn’t have the “right” to kill animals unless it’s absolutely necessary for valid reasons.

  34. Alan says:

    A wise old bear once told me if you hug a tree to tightly you will harm the forest!

  35. Rose Anne says:

    Here in New Jersey we are putting a lot of money and effort into creating a pathway for Bobcats to range from central Jersey to the NY border and back. They are an important ecosystem-balancing predator.
    That does not change at the state line!

  36. I’ve just read the Tioga County Courier’s copy and paste “article” taken from the Cornell Chronicle. Plowing thru it, the average citizen will gain Zero onsite or understanding as to why Bobcats are struggling, why they have a right to live no matter their “non use” “existence value” to our species. No where does the article connect linked-habitat loss and over hunting to NY State’s declining Bobcat population. The DEC cannot be trusted with actual protection and conservation. I know this as having worked as a newspaper reporter in the 1990s to 2019. The general public needs to be educated in a way that enables them to relate to Bobcats as fellow creatures we are meant to share our stressed environment with, not as “harvestable” pelts or even a symbol of what they might imagine constitutes “non-use value.”

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox